Symbolic significance and cognitive dimension of the Latvian landscape


  • Natalija Ņitavska Latvia University of Life Sciences and Technologies, Latvia



landscape symbols, cognitive landscape, model of the symbolic meaning of the landscape


As well as physical reality, the landscape is also an emotionally symbolic structure that closely intertwines with human cognitive perception, self-identification, with the perception of the homeland, as well as affects our daily habits. The landscape, as a cultural expression, forms a close connection with historical and political events, with traditions and customs, with each individual and with the nation as a whole, all of this manifests itself in a symbolic sense of the landscape, often used as a national recognition, for marketing purposes, but the symbols of the landscape are also a close connection between each individual and their native place and ancestors. The research analyses various aspects and phenomena that influence the symbolic importance of the landscape and relate to both cognitive aspects of each individual or community, nation, and collective memory and other expressions of identity and self-awareness. The landscape has a holistic nature that explains the close connection of several processes, both physical changes in landscape and changes in perception of each individual, according to the political and social situation of the country. Not least importance has the history of the development of the landscape perception of each country, which has been formed relatively recently in Latvia and art, photograms and the systematic division of the landscape created by researchers also play a big role in it. The regional context and cultural and historical division of Latvia should also be noted in the creation of landscape symbols. Cognitive processes are therefore associated with such concepts – Genius Locci, memory and event landscapes, landscape identity, place names, landscape biographies, etc. As a result, the author's model for the development and operation of the symbolic meaning of the landscape is presented, reflecting the structure and specificity of the symbolic creation of the landscape, as well as related processes that influence the symbolic meaning of the landscape.

Author Biography

Natalija Ņitavska, Latvia University of Life Sciences and Technologies, Latvia

Dr.arch., Professor, leading researcher, landscape architect. Director of the bachelor’s and master’s study programmes in landscape architecture and planning at Latvia University of Life Sciences and Technologies (LLU). Academic and research experience of more than fifteen years, is currently working as a professor and a leading researcher at the Department of Landscape Architecture and Planning, LLU. The main academic and scientific topics are addressed to sea coastal landscapes, cultural and natural values of landscapes, landscape identity, landscape architecture. Has teaching and organising experience in courses of different levels in landscape architecture and planning bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral study programmes (LLU), in BOVAUniversity (network of Baltic agricultural universities), in annual international summer schools, in LLU Lifelong education centre programmes, as well as the lecturer for incoming foreign students in the ERASMUS+ programme. Has experience in academic and research projects. Author of more than twenty-five articles in international journals and conference proceedings.


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How to Cite

Ņitavska, N. (2023). Symbolic significance and cognitive dimension of the Latvian landscape. Landscape Architecture and Art, 22(22), 59–68.